On this episode of Real Talk, Host Justin Miller invites Pastor Brian Broadway to discuss the ramifications of Racism that are still prevalent in today’s culture. Even as far as finding its way into our church!
While on a flight to Amsterdam I asked a young 20 something Dutch man how his people thought of Germans? I was intrigued by the history of Germany moving into parts of Europe and how it still had influence on how the Dutch might view Germans, just beacuse they were Germans and not in any way connected to the events of WWII. To refresh your history, on May 10, 1940, German troops invaded the Netherlands bringing war to the country. It ended five days later as Dutch forces surrendered and German occupation of the Netherlands officially began. Five years later, the Netherlands would be liberated.
The young man said that how the Dutch viewed a German depended greatly on the generation of the Dutch person. For example, his grand-parents hated Germans and refused to be around them. Why? During WWII German soldiers took their food and instructed them not to help anyone who was a Jew – a command they ignored, often sneaking food to a Jewish family at great personal danger. If caught they would have been arrested or killed or both. As a result, his grandparents were intolerant of all Germans. On the other hand, the younger generation had not suffered at the hand of the Germans and as a result were much more tolerant of them.
As an American I have been taught to view racism through very narrow colored glasses. As someone that grew up in the Holland household, we did not see people according to the color of their skin, a part of my history for which I am grateful. As a preacher I spent a year and a half preaching for an African American congregation. Since we had in common our faith in Jesus Christ, we regarded each other as family. Once when I was preparing to move on to another congregation I asked the congregation if they would consider joining with the (mostly) white congregation across town. But that was not to be because of the disrespectful way they had been treated by (some) of the white people of the congregation. Rather than being disappointed in their response I was grateful that they had invited a white man into their congregation and life. And even at the age of 24, I wondered if I had represented the love of Christ to them. Yet when I step back from my limited history I hope to be able to see a larger context in which to address this matter.
Textbook definition of racism
…the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. To be sure, racism is a a condition of the human race and not only of one race. It seems to me that the ebb and flow of suffering often depends upon how much actual or perceived suffering has occurred at the hand of the aggressor.
So what do you say? Is racism a the result of ignorance, an attitude of superiority, intolerance of differences, or the product of suffering? Whatever you may think, Jesus offers a solution…
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)